Team members journey to the Swaledale MRT ‘Rescue Challenge 2011,’ and “Have a fantastic time.”

Early this morning a small group of Bolton MRT met to journey to Swaledale, North Yorkshire, to join colleagues from a great many other MRTs and the statutory Emergency Services, to take part in this years ’Rescue Challenge 2011,’ organised and hosted by Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team.

This training event, which is not competitive, is a day long training opportunity taking the format of progression around a number of tasks related to mountain rescue, ie Navigation, Casualty Care, and Communications.

There follows an account of the days exercise by very experienced Bolton MRT team call out list member Gill Leigh;

“On Sunday 27th March bright and very early (even earlier as the clocks had gone forwards), 5 team members: Training Officer Elaine Gilliland, colleague team council member Chris Tennant, Gill Leigh, John Fletcher and Paul Brain travelled to Keld in Swaledale, the Yorkshire Dales to attend a joint exercise hosted by Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team.

Our five team members were very warmly welcomed by Swaledale MRT Team and assigned one of their team members as a guide – Davie (webmaster: I thought you called him Shrek, Gill…) who pointed us in the right direction for each ’exercise tasking.’ We were also joined by two members, Bob and Bill, from North of Tyne Team and a Police Search Manager, Richie, from Cleveland. The day was very well organised with a wide range of varied. There was a round robin approach where each of five groups rotated around the different activities.

First up for us was a steep ground rescue, which involved rope work to retrieve a casualty from a scree slope. This was also a great opportunity to see how Swaledale MRT organised their crag rescue kit in some very swish carry cases. We discussed various methods that each of the teams regularly employs and how our specific terrain affects this.

Next up was a triage exercise to help sort and sift a large number of casualties for treatment at a major incident site. This was an excellent way of using and applying the skills learnt on our ongoing Mountain Rescue Casualty Care Course and a good way to practice using the Glasgow Coma Score. We also gained a great number of ideas for our own training to take back with us.

Following this was a Swift Water Rescue exercise – resulting in very wet feet and training of how to keep safe in fast flowing water. Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team have 2 of the fastest flowing rivers in Europe in their area so we really learned a lot from them here, to back up our training with our boat.
This developed into the rescue of a casualty from the river and a hoist up the steep river banks.

The next scenario was in a confined area. The casualty was underground in a very tight spot – the only way to reach her was by slithering on stomachs. She needed treating for a spinal injury and this gave us the chance to try out a new type of spinal stretcher system – the Rapide – which our members had never used before.

We then moved onto the next scenario which was to organise a missing persons search. However it soon became apparent that this was the scene of a serious crime as the blood stained casualty was found to be dead and a weapon found close by. It was here that we were able to utilise the skills of the Police Officer and gain valuable advice on how to proceed in such an incident.

Finally the last scenario of the day was a sweep search involving some quite varied terrain. We were tasked with finding a number of items ranging in size from a shoe to a one pence coin. Our group were able to find every item. Perhaps Davie’s eager enthusiasm for finding ‘coin’ helped here!

The day ended in Keld at around 17.00hrs with a debrief and a chance to socialise with other members of the range of teams there including from our own region, the MPSRO (Mid Pennine Search and Rescue Organisation) Bowland Pennine MRT, Calder Valley SRT and Rossendale and Pendle MRT.

Our group would like to offer huge thanks to Swaledale Mountain RescueTeam for their hospitality and show our appreciation for the huge effort and immense amount of hard work which went into organising this event. This is a day which will stay in 5 Bolton MRT members’ minds for a very long time to come.

The following communication was received last night on our websites guestbook, and is also reproduced in full here;

name => David Thomson (Webmaster; Davie, as mentioned above)
location => Swaledale MRT
comments => Just a few lines to say thanks to the guys who attended our multi-agency ex this weekend and who were unlucky enough to have me as their group leader! The team were excellent and there were times where it was hard to tell that there were actually four teams in my group, such was the level of integration and professionalism.

All the very best to you all in Bolton MRT and look forward to working with you soon.

All the best! Davie Thomson
Call sign Scots Davie/Swale 72

The following was received by the team on Monday evening, March 28th 2011, from Tim Cain MBE, Swaledale MRT Training Officer and overall organiser of the days activities.

“Dear All,

Just to say a big thank you for your contribution toward the success of yesterday’s exercise at Keld. 48 mountain rescue team members from seven MR teams, police and ambulance service personnel joined us on a perfect day in Upper Swaledale. It was fantastic to meet so many likeminded souls and swap ideas and rescue stories!

38 SWALE team members manned five activities (Steep Ground, Triage, Crime Scene Awareness and Micro Search, Confined Space and Bank Support) provided guides or ran exercise control in what turned out to be a grand day out. Please pass our thanks to your members for their good humoured and very enthusiastic participation.

All the best and thanks again.”